Go, Lady, step into your happiness

Ben // 1/12/2009

Dear Homeschooling Friends,

A few days ago I walked into the wrong apartment building, thinking it was my own. The experience was strange. At first it was quite frightening. Then I felt like Alice in Wonderland.

The strange thing was how mysteriously unlike my building this strange building was. I entered it late at night. I was feeling peaceful at the time... mostly numb. At the entrance a man speaking Spanish into a cellphone let me into the front door. He just happened to be standing there. I walked into the room with the elevator and mailboxes (nothing different from my own). Then I leapt up the stairs and began the tunnel-like walk down the hallway toward what I thought was my door. Halfway down the hall I knew something was wrong. The ceiling lights shone on the apartment doorways, but the doorways were reversed: three on the right and two on the left. The exit door, always ajar, hung toward me but from the opposite side. Even my door slunk oddly against the right wall as though it had been injured. It said "27" when it should have said "26."

I lost my breath. You must realize that I was convinced I should be seeing the mirror image of what I actually saw. Then my fear turned into a strange sense of triumph. For once in my life I felt I was the immovable object in a world of inconstant changes. "I am still me," I thought. "Even if the world reverses itself, I am still me." The word "reversed" shot through my brain. I opened the exit door (on the left), rushed down the back stairway, and opened the metal door into the cold, snowy, night air. I breathed the air into my lungs and looked around. Sure enough, there I stood, on the opposite side of the courtyard. I had been in the building next-door to mine!

Several days passed. Last night I went home to Sunday dinner with my family. After dinner I felt gloomy and depressed. I lay on the couch and opened up a magazine my mother had saved for me to read. The feature article was about a growing population of people in India who work for Western companies answering telephone calls from America. There were pictures of the same Indian people wearing traditional clothing and then Western clothing. One woman called herself "Doreen" at work. She said, "While at work, Doreen is energetic and thoughtful of her customers. At home I am one of my family."

I flipped the pages of the magazine and began looking at pictures of an archeological dig in Istanbul. How easy it is these days to jump from India to Turkey! There was a picture of a woman standing knee-deep in mud holding up the sole of a shoe in her hand. The sole was found on a trading ship buried in the mud. On the shoe sole they discovered Greek words. They said: "Go, Lady, step into your happiness."

I find these words comforting. They remind me of how keenly we desire happiness in this life and in this world, and how great is this desire for life. I, too, desire happiness. According to the words, the Lady will wear happiness like a well-fitted shoe. She will wear it even as she steps into it, finding happiness either at the top of the stair, or down some hallway, or in a home and a family. It will happen, just like that.

I am not sure whether a shoe sole has anything to do with my experience in the wrong apartment building. I must think it does; otherwise I would not write about shoe and hallway together. Still, I am not prepared to risk dishonesty by putting forth a half-baked idea as to why these thoughts occurred together in my mind. Both inspire me to ponder life. Let that be sufficient reason!

PS: the picture above was taken by George Goss, a good friend.


That's kind of weird.

That's kind of weird. :D
He who is near to his Captain is sure to be a target for the archers.
-Amy Carmichael

Anna | Tue, 01/13/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Hmmmmmm...(no, I'm not in meditation)

Interesting....(this said with an over dramatized look of thought, and maybe a little of the concerned psychiatrist look). Tell me, when you were in the wrong building, did the thought come to your mind that you were in the Twilight Zone (you have seen the show haven't you?)?

The Brit | Tue, 01/13/2009

The part about the writing

The part about the writing on the shoe sole is my favorite...
It's interesting trying to put the instance of the wrong building together with the shoe sole incident. Perhaps "stepping into your happiness" was, for you, when you felt that sense of triumph in the other building?
"Elves and Dragons! Cabbages and potatoes are better for me and you. Don't go getting mixed up in the business of your betters, or you'll land in trouble too big for you." — Hamfast Gamgee (the Gaffer)

Clare Marie | Tue, 01/13/2009

"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." -Bilbo Baggins [The Lord of the Rings]


Interesting... I think somehow those do connect, I just can't see how...
And the 'step into your happiness' makes me think of stepping (or maybe even sort of jumping) into a puddle of rainwater on a sunny day. I don't know why though.

** ** ** ** ** **
"It is not death that makes us understand one another, but poetry."

Hannah W. | Tue, 01/13/2009


The TWILIGHT ZONE... I have seen a few of them. It was just like that. :-)

Ben | Wed, 01/14/2009

I think you're onto

I think you're onto something, Claire. I suppose stepping into our happiness is the same as stepping into our own pair of shoes, and not some other person's pair of shoes. I mean, being who we are - that is happiness - even if the world turns upside down.

Ben | Wed, 01/14/2009

I don't know that they're

I don't know that they're related, but I like this. I've had that "Twilight Zone" type of experience before. It was actually kind of funny, after I realized what was going on.

Can you believe you're the editor and founder of this website and I've never even read a single one of your pieces?

"It is man's inherent nature to scare himself silly for no good reason." - Calvin and Hobbes

Bridget | Sat, 06/13/2009

"I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question." - Harun Yahya


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